The NFL offseason is in full swing, and bags are being handed out left and right. In a league where the quarterback market is upwards of $35 million to $45 million per year for a top-flight starter, things are shifting to major paydays for those pass-catchers who make them look good on Sundays.
The latest wide receiver to cash in on a new lucrative deal is Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The former Maryland Terrapins star’s new deal is worth $104 million and $70 million in guaranteed money. Diggs was originally signed through 2023, but the new extension now makes him a Buffalo Bills employee until 2027. This freshly-inked extension along with Diggs’ current deal brings the total value of his contract to $124.1 million.
An elated Diggs took to Instagram after news of the deal broke Wednesday morning:
“There was so much work to put in to get to this point but I am beyond happy to know that I will be playing the rest of my career with BILLS MAFIA l. Words cannot describe how I’m feeling right now.”
The dynamic Diggs was acquired via trade from the Minnesota Vikings after the 2019 season, and he’s been elite for the Bills. He’s developed a chemistry with quarterback Josh Allen, which has led to 230 catches for 2,760 yards and 18 touchdowns.
In 2020, Diggs the earned his first Pro Bowl trip while leading the league in receptions (127) and yards (1,535). He followed that up in 2021 with 103 receptions for 1,225 yards and a career-high 10 touchdown grabs, earning his second Pro Bowl nod. Diggs has established himself as one of the five best pass-catchers in the NFL, and it’s only right he’s on par in salary with the other top guys
— Mas (@masonbiznes) April 6, 2022
GM Brandon Beane Was Adamant About Getting Deal Done: He’s A Cornerstone Piece
The Bills brass wanted to get Diggs signed to a lucrative deal, ensuring that Allen would have his top weapon throughout his prime. The move also opens up some much-needed cap space for the Bills, who entered the week with just over $1 million available after signing two-time Super Bowl champion edge rusher Von Miller.
On March 28 at the NFL owners meetings, Beane expressed his philosophy about paying players what they are truly worth to the organization and on the market when asked about reworking Diggs’ deal.
“I want to give all players their respect, and fair pay, whoever it is, and Stef’s no different. … I think the world of Stef. I think what he’s brought to our team has been great. He’s been great for Josh. He’s been great for our offense, and his leadership has stepped up, and we want Stef to be in Buffalo for years to come.”
Diggs On Par With Top Receivers In Pay: Deal Bode Well For Other Pass-Catchers
This offseason has been a bit of a doozy as far as top players jumping ship and signing lucrative extensions. While Diggs is staying put with his new deal, other A1 receivers like Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams left Super Bowl contenders to secure huge paydays elsewhere.
The Chiefs traded the speedy Hill to the Dolphins, where signed a four-year, $120 million extension with $72.2 million in guaranteed money. His average annual value is $30 million, making him the highest-paid receiver in the league. Hill wasn’t the only one switching teams and getting paid, as Davante Adams was traded from the Packers to the Raiders.
Adams signed a five-year, $140 million extension, which pays him $28 million annually and makes him the second highest-paid wideout in the league. Diggs, whose average annual value is $26 million, is now fourth behind Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins ($27.3 million) in wide receiver salaries.
Bills MAFIA 🥺♥️💙 pic.twitter.com/ixhCd9hyxj
— DIGGS (@stefondiggs) April 6, 2022
It wasn’t just the elite receivers who cashed in. Former Arizona Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk received a four-year, $72 million deal without ever having a 1,000-yard season. The market has changed, as it has for QBs, so players like AJ Brown (Titans), Terry McLaurin (Commanders), Deebo Samuel (Niners) and DK Metcalf (Seahawks) now have a starting point as they’ll be negotiating new deals soon. Each could be looking at a deal of $23M or more annually.